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WINSTON, Ore. — Wildlife Safari up in Douglas County is home to a brand new hippo. Well, Tony is almost two, so he's hardly wet behind the ears — and coming from the San Diego Zoo, this isn't Tony's first "rodeo."
“Tony arrived about midday on Wednesday, July 10th and has been getting to know his surroundings since then,” explained Dan Brands, the park’s general curator. “The first thing he was interested in was our older hippo, Padrone, who is and will be kept separate for the time being while Tony gets his bearings.”
Tony had some 15 minutes of fame as a young playmate for Fiona, the Cincinnati Zoo's triumphant premature hippo baby and viral sensation.
Tony was born in 2017 at the San Diego Zoo to hippo parents Funani and Otis. Now he'll join Wildlife Safari's collection of more than 500 animals, most of whom have some 400 acres of land to roam at the park.
“We like to say at Wildlife Safari, you are captive and they roam free because we’re a drive through park where the only animals that are really behind fences are the dangerous animals like the big cats or the bears," said Dan Van Slyke, the park’s executive director. "The only thing separating you from the wildlife at Wildlife Safari is often your own car.”
Despite their initial separation, Wildlife Safari expects that Tony and his neighbor Padrone will become friends following their introduction in the next several weeks.
“The hippos at Wildlife Safari are immensely popular,” Van Slyke said. "Tony is sure to get plenty of attention, and play a big part in making many family memories here at the park.”